Arcanum Undat Tools Tutorial

Remember how at the end of Part 1, we compressed your first mod into a .dat file? Then I made you delete all the folders and files that you hade just compressed so that all you had was the ".dat". Well, if you have version 1074 of WorldEd, you could just fire it up and open up the ".dat" module file with no problems. However, if, like I do, you're using version 1070 of WorldEd, then you can't do that. If you want to open the module in 1070 WorldEd again, what you'll have to do is uncompress the ".dat" file so that it is once again in its seperate directories. To do that, you'll need what is called an "undat" program. There are a few such programs on the internet that will do the job. Some are easier to use then others and some may not work at all. As at this point in time, there are three undat programs available for Arcanum. They are "arcanun", "arcundat" and Troika's own "dbmaker". I'll now go on and explain how to use two of those programs.

NOTE: A word of caution might be appropriate before I proceed. Undatting an Arcanum module might be too awkward for some people who aren't interested in buggerising around a bit. I only provide this information for those of you who would like to use it. If the following is too difficult for you to follow, then don't worry, undatting an Arcanum module is not necessary for this tutorial. You should be fine without it, just as long as you don't need that module we made in Part 1.

Arcanun v1: Arcanun v1 is a graphical program made by Amitiu. Amitiu has released a later version, Arcanun v1.1 (which was released on 25th of January, 2002), however I get errors with the new version when opening some modules, as such, I'll explain the old version 1 of the program which seems to work just fine. Arcanun v1 is a 1.4 megabyte file that you need to download. It also *might* require some extra mucking around on your part in order to get it working. This is because it needs certain files on your computer already in order for it to work. However, you can get those files if you don't already have them. Anyway, seeing as I'm explaining it, you might as well download it. Personally, this program looks the nicest, it has a nice graphical user interface and seems nice and easy to use, it also involves no typing (unlike DBMaker). However, it does seem to have a few bugs in it (although for some strange reason the latest version, Arcanun v1.1, has even more). Anyway, if you want to try it, click the following link to download Arcanun v1.
DOWNLOAD: (1.4 mb)

Arcanun Installation: Once you've downloaded, unzip it on your computer (If you don't know how to unzip a zip file, now would be a good time to find out. If you have an unzip program installed, you should be able to just double-click on "", it should then open up in Winzip (or something like it) and you can unzip it from there. If you really don't know how to unzip a ".zip" file, do a search on the internet and you should find something that will tell you how). Once unzipped, there should be a "setup.exe" file in the directory that you unzipped it to. All you need to do is to double-click on that and follow the simple installation instructions. Pick the directory you'd like to install the program to (or type in a directory if you want to create a new one) and then click the big button. Once installation has finished, there should be an "Arcanun" group in your windows start menu. Either click that or double-click on the "Arcanun.exe" which will be in the directory you installed the program to.

NOTE: If opening the program brings up errors, it's most likely you need to download a few more files. In that case, do what it says in the "readme.txt" file that comes with the program (replicated here for your convenience). "You may need Microsoft's Visual Basic Runtime 6 files for this" or as it says in version 1.1. "You MUST have Microsoft Visual Basic Runtime Library v6sp5 installed on your computer for this utility to run!!!!! Also, some systems may require their DCOM installation to be upgraded. Both of those are made by and are available by Microsoft and can be found on Microsoft's website." I checked out Microsoft's website and found both of those files by using the websites "search" function. Here's a link to dcom98.exe (1.2 mb) and one to vbrun60sp5.exe (1 mb) in case you need them. If those links don't work for whatever reason, then head on over to and use the search function to look for "Microsoft Visual Basic Runtime Library v6sp5" and "DCOM installation". Then follow the links to find what you're after.

If you don't have any errors, or once you've downloaded and installed the required files from Microsoft's website, you should see something like the screen below (yours won't have anything listed in the "Dat Contents" section at the moment because we haven't chosen a ".dat" file to open yet):

Figure 8.2 - Arcanun v1 browsing the "time.dat" module files.

Once you've got the program up, from there, it's very easy to use. Just go "File --> Open" and browse to your "Arcanum\modules" directory. In there, you should find your "My Mod.dat" file that we created in Part 1. It's now a simple matter of clicking on the file, clicking open and then waiting for the ".dat" file to load. You should then get a listing like that seen in Figure 8.2 above. Now, to undat the ".dat" file, just click "Export All" (down the bottom) choose a folder to extract the ".dat" file into (or create a new one) and then click "ok". It should now undat the file into your chosen directory (if you're lucky). This is the part where version 1.1 crashes on me with a run-time error when I try to undat certain modules (it still crashed even after downloading the latest files from Microsoft's website. That's why I decided to talk about version 1 instead). So, if this program works for you, good luck. It's nice and simple to use but it might require you to download and install dcom98.exe (1.2 mb) and vbrun60sp5.exe (1 mb) before you can get it to work.

DBMaker: Now, dbmaker is a much smaller program and is GUARANTEED to work 100%! However, unlike Arcanun, it doesn't have any neat graphical interface. To use dbmaker, you either need to run a "DOS" or "Command" prompt and type in some things manually or you have to make and edit a shortcut in windows. This can get tricky because if you don't know how to use the DOS prompt or windows, then you're probably going to be out of luck (though I'm sure you can find a tutorial for DOS and one for windows on the internet somewhere if you wanted to. This is because DOS is "one of those things" where you either know it, or you don't. If you didn't know, DOS was actually the operating system everyone used before "Windows" even existed. That's going way back to the 80's and early 90's). Anyway, I'll try my best to explain how you can get dbmaker to work for you by using a windows shortcut. So, first of all, you need to download dbmaker.
DOWNLOAD: (49 kb)

Once downloaded, all you need to do is unzip it onto your computer somewhere and that's it. No further installation required. What you'll have is a small "dbmaker.exe" file. However, undatting a ".dat" file with it is a little harder. First of all, browse to your "Arcanum\modules" directory and create a new folder, something like "mod_undatted". Then copy "dbmaker.exe" into that directory. Now, copy in the dat file that you'd like to undat. Now, once you have that, there are two ways of using dbmaker. One is to use the DOS prompt. If you know how to use the DOS prompt, stop reading now. You should have no trouble getting to the module directory in DOS and using dbmaker to undat your module. If you do have trouble, then you're not a DOS user at all. Shame on you. For those of you who don't know a thing about DOS, I'll explain the windows way to use dbmaker (simply because it's easier to explain). First of all, create a shortcut to dbmaker.exe in the same directory. To do this, simply right-click on "dbmaker.exe" in windows explorer and click on "create shortcut" as seen in figure 8.3 below.

Figure 8.3 - Creating a shortcut to dbmaker in Windows Explorer.

You should have a file called "Shortcut to dbmaker.exe" sitting in the directory now. What you need to do then is to right-click on that shortcut file and choose "properties" (that would be the last option according to the menu in figure 8.3 above). A new window should pop-up. What you do then is click on the "shortcut" tab, click in the "target" text area and type this onto the end of whatever is already in there: -u "NAME OF MOD.dat"
Figure 8.4 below shows you what I've done.

Figure 8.4 - Typing in the instructions for the dbmaker.exe shortcut ("my first mod.dat" is the name of the ".dat" file that I'm going to undat).

NOTE: If you're alt-tabing between this tutorial and the "properties" box, you'll find the properties box disappears. In reality, it's still there, it's just that it doesn't show up on your toolbar. What you have to do is minimise everything that you have open. You should find the properties box sitting behind everything. If not, just re-open it (right-click the shortcut and choose properties again) type in all the commands at once and then click ok. That way you don't alt-tab back to the tutorial until you're done.

Once you've typed that in, click "ok". Now, before we undat the module, lets explain what I just did. Dbmaker requires what are called parameters in order for it to run. So, by adding that "-u "my first mod.dat"" onto the end, we're telling dbmaker to undat the file called "my first mod.dat". If your module was called "joe.dat" then obviously you would type: -u "joe.dat" on the end instead. Notice how the name of the ".dat" file is in quotes? That's necessary when there are spaces in the name of the file (as in "My first mod"). This is because dbmaker doesn't like spaces in the names of files unless they are in quotes. Okay, now double-click on the shortcut you just made. If you got it right, it should pop up the DOS Command prompt for a while, whizz a few file names up past you and then close again automatically. It's just undatted the file. You should now find all the seperate files and folders for your module now sitting in the directory along with the original ".dat" file, dbmaker.exe and the shortcut you made. If it didn't work, make sure you are adding the parameters (-u "NAME OF MOD.dat") onto the end of the text and not overwriting anything that's there. If you didn't get that to work, try again. Read carefully and take a good look at the pictures. If it's too hard, try Arcanun v1.

Personally, I prefer to use Troika's own Official dat program "dbmaker.exe". That's just because I like typing. Also, dbmaker has a lot more options then just the ability to undat a ".dat" file. DBMaker can also make a ".dat" file (which makes sense, considering it's called db "maker"). As well as that, there are options to have a file listing and all sorts, however, I won't go into that in this tutorial. In case you're wondering though, here's the programs full potential (if none of this makes sense, don't worry, you won't be needing any of it):

DBMAKER.EXE [option] output input

  valid options:
    -r      Recurse subdirectories when building a database
    -u      Unpack a database
    -v      When used in conjunction with -u, views files in a database
    -q      Quiet mode - no progress output
    -cN     Specify compression level.  N must be a number between 0 and 9.
            0 means no compression (fastest),
            9 means best compression (slowest).
            The default compression level is 9.

    output  The output filename

    input   The files you want to add/view/extract.
            Input can be specified as a single file, multiple files,
            or one or more response files (specified with @filename).
            In all cases, wildcards (? *) are supported.

NOTE: If you do undat a module, make sure the directory you've undatted the module in to is different to the name of the ".dat" file that's sitting in your "Arcanum\modules" directory. Arcanum doesn't like it if you have both a "NAME OF MOD.dat" sitting in "Arcanum\modules" as well as an "Arcanum\modules\NAME OF MOD\" directory. If you undat a mod and the folder and ".dat" file have the same names, it can cause confusion when playing the module in Arcanum. I usually undat the module into a directory like "Undat NAME OF MOD" so that the name of the ".dat" and the name of the main folder are different (You can actually see all my "Undat NAME OF MOD" module folders in Figure 8.3 above).

Well, that's it. You should be able to undat any ".dat" files now. So, if you wanted to take a look at someone elses module and perhaps take a look at the scripts and dialogue files, all you need do is undat it.

Moo... Moo... I'm a Troika cow.

Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura is Copyright (2001 Sierra On-Line, Inc.)
DarkUnderlord has no affiliation with either Sierra On-Line or Troika Games LLC